JAMES Hanson's first hat-trick left Phil Parkinson raving as City closed in on the play-offs.

Hanson's treble inspired the Bantams to a 4-0 thrashing of promotion rivals Walsall at Valley Parade after Filipe Morais, starting his first game of the season, had broken the deadlock.

Parkinson was full of praise for Hanson's emphatic comeback after nine games out the side.

“You’re not going to get too many better centre-forward displays than that," he said.

“It wasn’t just his goals but his hold-up play as well – he never gave the ball away. His possession was almost 100 per cent."

With Gillingham surprisingly beaten by Shrewsbury and Barnsley drawing, City have a four-point cushion in fifth spot - and five in the play-off positions going into the final two games.

Parkinson added: “After taking only one point from six there was added tension on us and I’m so pleased with how we handled the big occasion.

“Football is often about temperament and playing your best when the pressure’s on. We certainly did that.”